Waldburger Wouters presents ‘Suskewiet Visions’, a project by Belgian artist Filip Van Dingenen (1975, Diest), his fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. The show focuses on Van Dingenen’s most recent body of work, which he developed with Congolese composer and visual artist David Shongo (1994, Kangu, DRC). The concept of this work is based on the folkloric tradition of Suskewiet, an animal sport practiced in Southwest Flanders in which each bird owner tallies each tweet made by their caged songbird on a specially designed, black wooden stick. This project re-contextualises the counting stick as a tool for aural engagement and environmental observation. Imagining each stick’s counting marks as a ‘temporal ephemera score’, Shongo and Van Dingenen have applied the stick as a device for musical composition along the Lys River in Southwest Flanders and the Congo River in Central Congo. Video documentation of this polyphonic experiment is on view in the exhibition.
The exhibition also features Van Dingenen’s colour pencil, watercolour and collage drawings. Some incorporate actual wooden counting sticks. These light, delicate works form idiosyncratic maps and constellations of the Suskewiet cosmology. Carefully handwritten words label diagrammatic birds, mind maps of ‘Ethno-ornithology’ and cartographies of the Lys River, amongst other poetic imagery. To access the exhibition, visitors are invited to become part of the Suskewiet sport, as they crawl through a small door in an iron gate designed by Van Dingenen. Elegantly encasing the front door and façade, the gate transforms the gallery into a birdcage.